Hemerdon tungsten mine waste facility application approved

Hemerdon mine
Image caption Wolf Minerals hopes to begin mining at Hemerdon next year

A company hoping to restart tungsten mining in Devon has been granted a permit for a waste facility, the Environment Agency says.

Australian-based Wolf Minerals wants to reopen the mine at Hemerdon, near Plympton.

The facility will deal with with mining waste, including water.

The agency said the permit was conditional on how the facility was operated and that emissions would have to be monitored.

'Properly protected'

The agency said the decision followed "careful and thorough consideration of the permit application".

It said it granted the permit after consultation with the public and agencies including Public Health England and Natural England, as well as local councils.

It added limits and conditions in the permit would ensure that "people and the environment are properly protected".

The conditions would include regular site inspections, carrying out investigations into any failures to comply with the permit conditions, and taking enforcement action if needed, it said.

Wolf, which wants to begin mining at Hemerdon by the end of 2014, has previously said it expects the site to become the "world's next major tungsten mining operation".

The company hopes to produce about 3,000 tonnes of tungsten and tin a year.

Tungsten, which is used in armaments, darts, light bulbs and as ballast for racing cars, was discovered at Hemerdon in 1867.

Mining was carried out at the site between 1919 and 1920 and again from 1934 to 1944, when production ceased, but the booming economies of China and India have increased worldwide demand.

The Environment Agency has already granted seven permits in connection with water in and around the area.

Devon County Council granted planning permission in 1986 to develop the mine, which remains valid until 2021.

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